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Book Review: The Mammoth Book Of Vampire Stories By Women, part 5

The Mammoth Book Of Vampire Stories By Women edited by Stephen Jones, part 5

Good Lady Ducayne
A young woman is hired to be an old lady’s companion. The old lady does not want to die and nobody finds it relentlessly worrying that all her previous companions have died. The kindly mentor in this tale is a patronising git and this was unobjectionable blandness and a tale of medical vampirism.

Best Line:
“A face that should have been hidden under a coffin-lid years and years ago.”

Lunch At Charon’s
An energy vampire feeds off her ‘friends’ to maintain her youth and beauty. She has no self-reproach and doesn’t want to endure any form of discomfort. Her abusive interactions are unsettling and unnoticed. This was okayish.

Forever, Amen
This tale is not emotionally honest and is plain boring. This was not surprisingly charming.

Night Laughter
Vampires in Central Park at night. Okay.

This is an okay dissection of the vampire mythos.

Best Lines:
“Police-escorted departure.”

“Wretched excuse for a life.”

By Edith Wharton. A dull tale of a grave promise or something.

Best Line:
“Had been shut up for years in a cold clean room with iron bars in the windows.”

My Brother’s Keeper
This is a good tale of addiction, organised intimidation, group identity, an existential mystery and a woman’s chilling recognition of what lurks on the peripheries preying on the weak.

Best Lines:
“Women who threw drinks always ended up as corpses;”

“The buildings looked abandoned at first glance; at second glance, they still looked abandoned.”

“Run like hell and hope that would be fast enough.”

“They were just there. Where they’ve always been.”

So Runs The World Away
By Caitlin R. Kiernan. This wasn’t good.

Best Line:
“Guarded desperation.”

The Night Stair
A girl goes into the den of the vampires who rule her village. She wants to put an end to their predation. Things do not go as expected. This was excellent.

Best Lines:
“The burning of the tiny wooden church and how the priest was thrown on the pyre as extra kindling.”

“It was ancient before the Lord himself became what he is.”

“We can never know that what might come along isn’t worse than this pair.”

“I do what I can as did my father and his before him and his before him.”

A North Light
There are Irish jokes in this moral pap tale as vampires who have an indie homeless aesthetic have greed and unbridled rage. This is not startlingly raw as the vampires prance around in the service of annihilation. This was general nonsense and not a tale of implacable evil told with terrifying intensity. This was not nicely nuanced or deliciously demented.

By Connie Willis. I’ve read this before. This is a very good tale of World War II, a vampire and the transformative effects of war.

Best Line:
“Constantly be on the lookout for wrongdoing.”

By Jane Yolen. A short naff poem.
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